Wild Record Collection’s Snuffles

Interviews | Nov 30th, 1998

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“Everyone get ready, it’s coming on!!”

Stereos get shut off, computers are abandoned, textbooks dropped to the floor in neglect. It’s Sunday night, and in a minute a white bear, sometimes dressed in a costume, will appear on the tv screen with a resounding and cheerful “HELLOOO! HA-HA-HA!”

Snuffles the bear introduces some of the music that will be played, but quickly gets down to what everyone’s waiting for: Getting down.

Read on and discover for yourself the hyper-cute dancing universe of Wild Record Collection.

Hi Snuffles, it’s an honor to finally meet you. First, how did you get the idea to do Wild Record Collection? It’s easily the greatest thing on public access, if not all of cable. Did you ever think you’d be doing it for this long?
Well Hello! First of all, let me say that the pleasure is all mine. It always is when I get to meet a fan of the show…you make it all happen and keep it worth our while! Tony, the Anonymous Hand, had the original idea of doing a minimalist show where you would see record covers, hear songs and that’s it…other than the title card at the beginning and end. And that’s just what he did starting in July 1996! But, by episode #7, he was having camera and sound trouble. Just before going on vacation, he and Ron (Ronster) were checking the tapes and found that one had no sound. How minimal can you get?… record covers only! Since we had to turn the tapes in the next morning and it was already midnight, Ron suggested that I do about 15 minutes explaining the problem and “Voila!” (I learned that from a “French Language Lesson” record), I was a TV personality! When we returned from the trip, I began to give a weekly rundown of what had been seen and heard on each episode. Soon I was opening and closing the show, then having three segments, and then dancing. Everything evolved from there and continues to do so. I never thought we’d run this long. We recently had episode #200 and this July is the 4th anniversary of the show. How long have you been watching?

You have danced to everything from Dusty Springfield to Pansy Division. For a stuffed bear, you have the most diverse music tastes! Where did you get all these crazy and great records??
Well, I’m not trying to boast, but I’ve danced and reacted to even more diverse recording artists than that….Andrews Sisters, Pork Dukes, Philadelphia Orchestra, Yma Sumac, Tammy Wynette, Singing Nun, Dead Kennedys, Lawrence Welk, Kiri Te Kanawa, Chiffons, Regis Philbin, Ramones, Boris Karlof, Sandie Shaw, Diamanda Galas, Fabian, Bad Ronald, Broadway Casts, Soundtracks, Shirley and Squirrely, and on and on…. Ronster started collecting in the ’50s and always had eclectic tastes. Anonymous Hand had just as diverse tastes when he started in the ’70s. In the ’80s they got together, with me, and put it all together and it spelled THE WILD RECORD COLLECTION! We all continue to collect, and friends and fans also contribute… it’s very WILD!

Do you ever get exhausted from dancing so much? Or does a high kick in, sort of like a runner’s high? Hey, you’re not on amphetamines or tripped up on goofballs, are you??
I must admit, you have to be a major Goofball to do this show! But, no, none of us even drinks or smokes. I haven’t even eaten in 12 years! We never get exhausted from dancing… we might have to change pace and tempo, but everyone on the show is always wishing the show would be longer so that we could dance more.

Some of your dance steps are very detailed, especially the pieces with the other animals. Do you have a choreographer? How long do your daily rehearsals run?
Other fans have asked this, but we do not rehearse! Anonymous Hand and Ronster will occasionally direct us and cue us, but we don’t rehearse and there is no script… can’t you tell? When we do shows at other people’s homes they seem shocked by this, but it’s the truth. We enjoy the spontaneity of it all. If something is really awful we can always do it over, but we often leave it in because it’s funny or even hilarious! We are all choreographers. We wish everyone would understand that. If you can move at all or even think of moving, you are a dancer and therefore a choreographer. We have fans who are bedridden and some who are blind. They are all dancers and know how to have fun!

I hate to ruin your bachelor image, but we’ve noticed you have a special stuffed cat in your life. Has she been supportive in your dancing career? Is she THE woman behind Snuffles?
All of our family members are supportive to each other, even Steve the giraffe. Angel Face is the white coquette cat to whom you are referring. She is very supportive, but, no, she is not my girlfriend. She is a great actress to have you thinking that! That little kitty falls in love with the picture of every feline depicted on a record jacket… even cartoon cats.. She’s very silly and sweet. All of the girls/women on the show are supportive and so are all of the guys. We all love each other and all of our fans too!

You are always so happy and cheerful. To what do you attribute your positive demeanor? And what frustrates or angers you? Has there ever been a time when you completely flipped on say, Steve the Giraffe or little Brownie?
I do my best to keep happy and cheerful. We all feel that along with sharing our record collection, that it’s the purpose of the show! If we make even one person happy each week, we feel that we’ve accomplished our goal. A lot of things frustrate me and you’ll sometimes hear me make topical comments. What really angers me/us is when we “have to set the record straight.” We correct a lot of what is said about records, artists, music on other shows and networks and try to use reference materials to back it up. We really got angry when we felt that another show on commercial TV was copying us. We even consulted a lawyer who did agree with us. But, we did a parody of them before going any further and within two weeks, they stopped doing everything that looked like us! They are no longer on the air, by the way. Okay, Steve was very bad and kidnapped me 3 years ago and was banished for a time. But he’s been much improved lately and does make appearances. He has fans from Staten Island to San Francisco who have written and pleaded on his behalf. New York fans tape the show and send it everywhere in the US, Japan, Australia and even New Zealand! Brownie has always been perfect…that’s all I can say.. he’s a true dear, I mean sweet little bear.

Most episodes of Wild Record Collection revolve around a specific theme (not unlike issues of READ!) Do you have a favorite theme or episode? We personally love all of the holiday ones.
We do have a lot of “Specials” but I also love the regular type “grab bag” shows. I thought last year’s “Cinco de Mayo” show was very funny, but it’s hard to choose a fave. If they turn out okay…they are all favorites!

How do you feel about the plight of Beanie Babies? They are only bought to be collected. Most people just keep them in glass cases. Does it bother you that they can’t be free to dance?
We do actually have several BB family members and we do feel that people would have more fun if they really enjoyed them like we do. Jennifer, our Beanie Baby blue bird thinks that eventually they’ll all get out of those plastic bags and glass cases and be free to dance. Some small child will eventually win out and set them all free!

I know this is a very personal question, Snuffles. Please forgive us, but we are trained investigative journalists… Are you a Gund?
I am indeed, a Gund. But I met Ronster at Keflavik Airport outside Rekavik in Iceland. He invited me to come back to the States and here I am!

And we would never question your kind-heartedness, but all the stuffed animals on WRC are dancing by choice, right? It’s obvious the pterodactyl loves it – she is a dancing maniac! But have you ever forced any against their wills? Threatened to sell them to the Salvation Army?
Forced? They are usually clawing backstage to go on next! Everyone dances or appears because they LOVE to!! No one has ever been threatened, not even Steve! You are kidding aren’t you? Teressa (the pterodactyl) will be so proud that you noticed her. She is a wild woman! She, like most, is crazy about being in front of the camera.

We’re sorry for questioning you about stuff like that, Snuffles. You’re the coolest bear ever, and watching you and your friends dance makes millions of people happy every week. Thank you for taking your time out today. Any closing comments?
Millions? Don’t you mean Billions? Ha-Ha Ha!! Thanks for watching and well, I’m blushing now, thanks for all of your kind words. Remember, if we make someone happy…we’re HAPPY!! We want to know from you and other fans what you like and don’t like on our show. We want to know if you’ve ever heard an artist you hadn’t known before. Did we ever spur you on to buying a record or CD? We hope so! We need more places for FUN MUSIC!!